"Giving students freedom to choose how and what they learn motivates them to achieve more. This is when personalization shines." -M. Smith
Q&A with Ms. Smith:
Q: How do you personalize learning (PL)?
A: My reading block this year personalizes student work through the use of a Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) that students receive each week, which allows them to work at their own pace and accomplish different tasks. Some students set goals for the time they will use Lexia, while other students work through a Socratic Circle model in which questioning, critical-thinking, student led discussions, and project research are all utilized.
Q: Can you share an example of how PL has been effective in your classroom?
A: PL has been effective for my students, but one particular interaction stands out. An incredibly bright, academically driven student was really struggling with time management. We were able to create a weekly practice in which we sat together to create a schedule to complete his PLP work. We identified how much time should be given to each task daily, and informally discussed goals for the student during our meeting time. This was not only a quick way to help this student adjust from traditional classroom instruction to the new flexible learning environment, but also allowed the student to “buy into” the new manner of learning he was invited to explore. By the end of the year, the student had become much more comfortable with his time management skills, and ultimately, became a brilliantly self-driven learner.
Q: How has Otus made personalization more efficient? More effective?
A: Otus has helped me be creative with how I distribute learning tasks to students, and invites lessons to not only be diverse but used on personalized levels. I love how I can flag students to be part of differentiated groups in my reading, science, and community lessons. I am able to identify students with allergies, IEPs, and other important information by using the flags. Also this feature has made it easier for me to assign modified tasks for students. It has also opened up a great use for differentiated instruction to support diverse learners.
Thanks, Ms. Smith, for piloting learner profiles this year at Irving Park. We look forward to utilizing Learner Profiles across Distinctive Schools next year!